Friday, 9 August 2013

Golden Hour

Dave and I arrived at the pond at 7:20am just as the rain cleared bringing down birds that needed to rest or were re-orienteering themselves as they continued on their migration. The first surprise was a Woodcock that flew over farborough bank and headed north.followed by 4 juvenile Shelduck arriving from the south but after checking out toft bay they carried on east closely followed by more arrivals in the shape of a Green Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and Wheatear. Meanwhile Buzzard, Common Sandpiper, 100+ Swift and 4 Common Tern noted. The final ‘goodie’ was a Little Egret over rainbow corner. Good to see the fearsome threesome just starting out on their walk so I hope they saw as much as we did.
Buoyed up by our ‘fall’ we had breakfast at the Long Itch Diner where Vapourer Moth and Southern Hawker were buzzing around before checking out Butt Hill which had at least 10 Spotted Flycatcher , 2 Green Woodpecker, 4 juvenile Treecreeper, Willow Warbler and Coal Tit.
By this time it was mid-day and having been out mothing as part of the National Moth Night scheme the previous two nights I was suffering from fatigue so headed for bed.
I managed a couple of hours before being dragged kicking and screaming to see the long staying 2nd summer Night Heron at Thornton Reservoir.

No doubt you have noticed the influx of butterflies attracted to buddleia or lavender so last Wednesday I checked out my estates front gardens and counted 227 Large White, 12 Small White, 5 Green-veined White, 5 Comma, 87 Peacock and the odd Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown. Also seen were 6 Silver Y, 3 Vapourer and a Dusky Sallow. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The patch is improving

My computer is slowly dying and does not always listening to my pleas to work so may be off-line soon for a while I make me mind up what to replace it with.

Birding locally has picked up in recent days with Turnstone, Dunlin, 5 adult and 2 second year Yellow-legged Gulls at the pond on Sunday morning, Osprey and Black Tern yesterday afternoon while today there were 5 Ringed Plover, Dunlin, 4 Common Tern, 50+ Swift and adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Still hundreds of Large White butterflies in the Cathiron area along with good numbers of Peacock and 20+ Silver Y’s when we looked at Oliver Cromwell going north again. Dave had 6 Comma butterflies in his garden this morning while we were clearing down his trap and I am getting a few Vapourer moths visiting mine.

Dave ended July with over 220 moth species trapped from over 5000 moths and his garden list just keeps growing with it now on 322 Macros and 321 micro species from 108,000 moths trapped since August 2005. I had just completed his records when he caught number 644.
Bordered Sallow

N.M.N and things above your head

National Moth Night is being held over the nights of 8th to 10th of August so if you are involved there are a few things happening above your head this week of interest.

The space shed will complete a few passes.

If you are up and about an hour before sunrise tomorrow morning you’ll will see a lineup of three planets low in the eastern sky. The first one you should spot is Jupiter which is the highest of the three and brightest, below Jupiter, look for Mars and below that will be Mercury.

Those in the know are predicting that this years Perseid meteor shower will be one of the best for sometime with over a hundred an hour so you’ll want to be out the mornings of the 12th and the 13th when it’s at its best. Best time will be between 2pm and 4pm but anytime after dark there should be some activity. Find a dark observing place, relax on a reclining chair and give yourself 20 minutes for your eyes to become accustomed to the dark and have a few drams nearby for comfort and enjoy, Bliss

Friday, 2 August 2013

July Moths - Kingfisher

A record 4,791 moths from 1308 records were captured in my home traps in July adding 3 macro and 10 micro moths to my garden list bringing it up to a respectable 578 species since August 2005. With so many moths around the traps also produced 22 second and 11 third only records. I recorded over 200 moth species averaging just under 150 moths a night. Still to do Dave's records but I'm sure his results will be better than mine - lets hope it continues in to August.
Lunar-spotted Pinion

Old Lady

1403a Duponchelia fovealis this one took hours to identify
all pics by Bob Hazel

A short walk around Brandon Marsh at mid-day did not produce much with the rising water levels but prolonged views of Kingfisher was welcome. Plenty of Damsel and Dragonflys around.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Aston Rowant

Aston Rowant looking NE towards Didcot
Despite the glorious weather and brilliant views looking out from Aston Rowant Nature Reserve with Dave and Bob it was hard to get away from the sounds of the M40 droning on in the background but it did not spoil a fantasic visit with 17 species of butterfly seen including 30+ Silver-spotted Skipper and 150+ Chalkhill Blue added to a growing year list among the hundreds that were in flight. Plenty of moths around as well with 100s of Six-spotted Burnets, 10 Silver Y, Yellow Shell and White Plume Moth. Birds included the ever present Red Kite plus 2 Hobby and a Sparrowhawk. As the temperature soared over the 30s we retreated for refreshment in the Carrier Arms at Watlington to cool down.
Silver-spotted Skipper
Chalkhill Blue
both moth pics by Bob Hazel